What Midwifery Care Looks Like

We provide comprehensive prenatal, labor and birth, and postpartum care, and well woman care before and beyond pregnancy and childbirth. We provide all our care in your home. Individualized care is at the heart of what we do. Each of our clients is a unique individual with unique needs. Some of our clients choose to have most of the available lab tests and ultrasounds, while others prefer minimal screening. We respect the principles of informed consent and informed refusal. Our task is to provide education and counseling to help each family make the best decisions for themselves and their child.

I will never have another “Out of Home” birth again!!
— Birthstream Client, 3 home births after a hospital birth

Our group midwifery practice ensures that there will always be a midwife available when you need one. It also means that each midwife is able to take time off to care for herself and her family so that she can be fully present with clients during appointments and births. We also believe in the value of continuity of care, and our clients get to know each midwife during their care. Should the need for consultation, collaboration or referral to a physician arise, we continue to provide supportive or concurrent care.

The beauty of labor and birth at home is in allowing a natural process to unfold in an atmosphere of love and privacy. Mother and baby are free to follow their biological instincts. Given the space to labor in their own environment, mothers will find their way through the birth journey. The elements that contribute to mother’s comfort also promote the well-being of baby: changing positions frequently encourages baby to rotate and descend; eating and drinking freely provides sufficient energy to the uterus and the baby; love and touch from her partner stimulates the flow of essential birth hormones; comfort measures such as the birth tub or massage allow her to relax her muscles and feel safe so she can open her body and spirit to birth her baby. Women at home give birth in whatever position and location feels right to them. Birth is an integral part of family life, and the mother chooses who will be present to support her in labor.

We continue to care for mother and baby as a dyad after birth. Being together skin-to-skin promotes a normal transition for the newborn, supports the necessary hormonal state for mother, and facilitates breastfeeding. The umbilical cord remains intact for as long as the parents choose, generally at least until the placenta is born. We observe baby’s transition while she/he is in mother’s arms, and routine procedures such as weighing and a full newborn exam are done an hour or two after birth, right next to the parents.

Planning a homebirth means taking responsibility for decision making and committing to the full experience of labor and birth. The relationship of trust between client and midwife develops over time, and depends on clear and open communication. The low rate of interventions and complications in homebirth attended by Licensed Midwives is partly a result of this relationship, as well as a balance between trust in the birth process, careful assessment of the well-being of mother and baby, and appropriate use of interventions, if they become necessary.  Read the Midwives of North America Statistics Project data from 2014.

We are trained and equipped to handle urgent situations ranging from postpartum hemorrhage to neonatal resuscitation; however, some complications require transport to the hospital. In the event of a transport during labor, a midwife remains with the client for supportive care and resumes clinical care postpartum. Our transfer rate is approximately 10% for women who have not previously had a vaginal birth and 1% for subsequent births. Our Cesarean section rate ranges from 5-7%.